The only thing I feared before getting pregnant was labor and delivery. It was really the scariest thing in the world to me. When I became pregnant, it became real. I was going to have to give birth at some point ! How did that happen? Did I not know how babies were coming out? I did. I just didn’t want to think about it yet. Little Sixtine was wanted from day one, and although it is always a surprise to read “pregnant” on a Clearblue stick (I say that like it wasn’t the first time, but it was), we were very happy to be pregnant. I thought, ok. I am pregnant, and in nine months, we will have a baby. I will be radiant and happy, just like pregnancy is “advertised”. It is the best thing in the world.
A few days after finding out, I started to get really sick (click here for a detailed story) and felt isolated and lonely. What was happening to me? My days consisted in lying down on the couch and throw up. Hyperemesis gravidarum. Doesn’t sound fun in Latin, nor in English (severe sickness) or French (hyperémèse gravidique). It was really hard on me and my husband. I didn’t expect that. I never really thought about how pregnancy would feel. I wish the real face of pregnancy had been explained to me. Why did my pregnant/mum friends or acquaintances had never told me about it? I was not prepared. After weeks and weeks of sickness and isolation, I became depressed as I wasn’t enjoying my pregnancy. It didn’t last the entire time though, and as the sickness decreased a little bit, I started showing and Sixtine started kicking. There, there was something amazing happening inside me. But the ninth month was hard on me and I would cry at night from exhaustion and insomnia. I wanted this baby out of me quick. I wanted to get control back of my body.
And then she came, beautiful, healthy, and sweet, exactly as I had pictured her. My mum had made it to Canada to come visit and help during our first week with baby and my husband had a couple days off; I enjoyed the help taking care of our new baby. But then, the feeling of isolation came again. Homesick I was before pregnancy but becoming a mum on top of it didn’t help. I wanted to be with my family, my friends at home (the French one) and share this little person with them. I used Skype, and Facebook but it wasn’t the same. I spent my days alone with a baby who needed me at all times – who was going to take care of me then?
Little by little, the baby blues – which didn’t last more than a few days- became what I now know was Post Partum Depression. I didn’t know that it was at the time, I just felt lonely, teary, isolated, and beyond tired. So tired that I could barely get out of bed in the morning. My husband started feeding the baby in the morning before going to work to give me extra time to rest and I started thinking that I wasn’t the mum that she deserved, (and a really bad wife if you ask me) but I didn’t want my depression to affect her in anyway, so I sang, and danced for her, and did anything a perfect should do obssessing on early education. I didn’t want her to see any difference but I felt that we were too connected and that somehow, someway she could feel my distress. And I didn’t want that. After a couple talks with my husband, we thought it’d be best for me to go home early, and spend some time with my family to get better.
The craziest thing is that, as soon I knew I was going home, I started to feel better. I knew what it was: I could do something about it. I thought I’d see someone to talk about it but I never had to. On my second day home in Paris, I felt the sun on my skin and smiled. A true, honest smile, and felt the tears coming as I felt good again. This is all I needed, my baby, my family from home and the sun on my face. I felt instantly better. I don’t feel the need to see anyone anymore and feel great. My daughter gets to go out everyday, meet people, and I feel like I have found myself again. The only thing missing is my beloved husband but he will be joining us in June.
I will go back to Prince Edward Island a different woman.
I know Baby Blues and PPD are taboo subjects or else why had I never heard any of the pregnant women I know talking about it? Maybe I was the only one. I want to say that finding out what was going on helped me on the recovery process and that it is ok to not feel good when you are pregnant or just had a baby. It will get better.
If you feel adventurous and have gone through/or are still going through it, please share. It is good to know we are not alone !